Former McLaren mechanic Marc Priestley claims very few even knew who Lewis Hamilton was when he debuted with the British team in 2007.
Priestley worked with Hamilton during his debut season in Formula 1, back in 2007, when the Brit drove alongside two-time world champion Fernando Alonso at McLaren, and came agonisingly close to winning the World Championship.
Hamilton would soon burst onto the scene, however, winning his first title in 2008 with McLaren, before adding another four after his 2013 switch to Mercedes.
Speaking to Autosport, Priestley said: “I worked at McLaren when there were stories that Lewis Hamilton would be promoted.
“He was not yet a Formula One driver at the time and was active in GP2,” [now Formula 2].
“When we heard that he would most likely be promoted, we all thought he was not a little too young?
“And many people did not even know who he was.
“Upon arrival, it soon became clear that Lewis was a special boy. He was super young, but incredibly fast.
“The most extraordinary thing was that he immediately knew that he had to deal with the pressure.
“Sure, a number of things did not go well, but many things did.
“In his second season, he was already World Champion, not many people can say that.”
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